Whisper it, but spring might finally have arrived and, with it, the chance to move away from those meaty reds that have insulate us against cold, damp, grey weather.
Whites have been chilled in the fridge and drunk with lighter food than the hefty stews of winter.
Among my favourites is Left Field Albarino 2017 from New Zealand – priced at around £14.50 and available from various suppliers.
Paired with a simple plate of smoked salmon, it was a gorgeous tipple with a far rounder texture than many albarinos.
There’s plenty of melon and peach and a fair bit of citrus, with a flavour that lingers.
With more robust fish dishes, try Jean-Luc Colombo Collines de Laure Blanc 2016 – priced around £14.20 and available from various merchants.
The Provençal grape Rolle (better known elsewhere as vermentino) is balanced with three Rhône varieties to create a wine that’s weighty but elegant.
There are herbal notes as well as soft fruits and it worked brilliantly well with a plate of fried hake.
From Australia, Hancock & Hancock Fiano 2017 – just under £15 from various stockists – is a great match for spicier food.
The sweetness of tropical fruit is balanced by fresh, restrained acidity that made it a perfect match with a salsa of pineapple, chilli, wild garlic and mint to accompany seafood.
So far this spring, I’ve been heading to France’s Loire Valley for my reds.
Generally low on alcohol, there’s a freshness about Loire reds that make them a great match for lamb.
Try them slightly chilled.
L`Hurluberlu, St Nicolas de Bourgeuil 2016, is a fascinating purple beast.
It’s unfiltered and unsulphered and don’t be alarmed if it appears cloudy. Nor by the label, which suggests that the bottle may contain cola rather than classy wine.
Expect hedgerow dark fruits and – somehow – a hint of gooseberries or sharp rhubarb.
So impressed was I by a bottle of this stuff – priced at £14.45 at Connolly’s Wines in the Jewellery Quarter – that I headed back and bought a case.
The same merchant stocks Domaine de la Rablais Côt 2014, priced at £10.49.
Côt is better known as malbec and expect the same dark fruit, but with more restraint and elegance than most malbecs you’d encounter from Latin America.
With spiced chicken thighs it was a delight.